[OT] Consent of the governed was, Torn about Tor

Steve smorrey at gmail.com
Wed Sep 14 03:28:57 MDT 2005

Erin Sharmahd wrote:

>>I completely understand where you are going with this, however one thing
>>that people seem to forget is that government only exists by consent of
>>those being governed.  
>I don't believe that this is true for all governments.  I don't think
>that the government in N Korea is necessarily in place from the
>"consent" of the governed in any remarkable fashion.  There's
>certainly an argument to be made that government exists through A)
>consent of the governed, B) fear, C) brainwashing/lack of information,
>and D) brute force.
>I don't think that any one government has all 4 of these points (in
>fact, i'd argue that certain among them are mutually exclusive), but I
>would argue that you can't argue that all governments rule by any one
>of them.
>Now, I'm not going to give any opinion regarding China, as I'm not
>completely certain where I would put their government.  I will point
>out that the N Korean government is in place through B, C and D.  N
>Korea is not the only example I could give for this, but it's late,
>and therefore I'm using the example that is most obvious to me.
>Apologies for an extremely off-topic comment.  I just couldn't help
>bringing up this point as the comment made bugs me...
>PLUG: http://plug.org, #utah on irc.freenode.net
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>Don't fear the penguin.
Yes Erin I see your point, but even when B, C and D are in place and the 
apparent source of power, it is still A and only A, which allows a 
government to exist and continue to govern.  Even IF B,C,D were so 
prevalent that people are afraid to rise up and stand up for themselves 
they have still made a choice. Look at our own revolutionary war and 
then also our own civil war. There is power in the people and all power 
does lay exclusively in the people, the government is itself, entirely 
comprised of people, and if you would rather live under oppression, 
because you are afraid of dying while fighting for something you believe 
in, thats your choice, ergo you are giving consent to the powers that be 
to govern you.  However if you choose to fight that power, you have no 
longer given your consent.  Whether or not you will win is an all 
together different matter.  But it still boils down to the good old 
"Give me Liberty or Give me Death", or conversely "If you choose not to 
decide you still have made a choice".

Also there are a lot of ways to fight, not all of them involve wars and 
guns, look at  Mohandas 
Gandhi as an excellent example, through a doctrine of non-violence and 
civil disobedience, he was able to do what years of war and turmoil 
could not.  Then there is Nelson Mandela, who chose to speak out against 
an oppresive government, got thrown in prison for nearly 30 years, and 
in so doing became a symbol of the anti-apartheid movement.  And heaven 
only knows how many "regimes" have been brought down or changed by 
intrigue, "Et tu, Brute?"

All I'm saying is this, no government can exist without the consent, 
whether explicit or implicit of those being governed.  If a government 
comes to power, which in time becomes too oppressive, then the people 
will shake it off and find something they find to be newer, better and 
shinier than the old government, or fall into anarchy.  Most times both 
things happen, a government falls and for a time it's people fall into a 
state of anarchy, until reason prevails and they once again make a new 
government by which at least most of the people can consent to.   
Sometimes this produces local warlords, and the fighting ensues again, 
but eventually people lay down their arms and consent to some form of 

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